Performance marketing consultancy LeadMD is using data it collected as part of a survey conducted in partnership with Drift to create what it calls a Sales and Marketing Alignment Index that will benchmark how well B2B teams are working together and offer ideas for improvement.
The report, which was released on Monday, is based on two groups of 350 people each from sales and marketing departments of companies with more than $25 million in revenue. Pipeline creation and revenue were used as the key success metrics against which the study participants’ perceptions and tactics around alignment were weighed. The assessment involved 70 different questions.
The Index shows top performers tend to have sales and marketing teams who work in close physical proximity, conduct joint customer meetings and focus on key performance indicators such as retention. Those who lagged, on the other hand, tended not to share technology and performance data.
According to LeadMD CEO Justin Gray said the firm plans to conduct the study on an annual basis to help keep the Index fresh and relevant.
Although creating an Index wasn’t a given since the end results of the survey couldn’t be predicted “We were hoping the research would go in that direction,” Gray told B2B News Network. “But we were intentional and cognizant that the dat would drive the output.”
While B2B firms are often lambasted by experts for a lack of sales and marketing alignment, Gary said LeadMD wanted to help create a “shared language” of what it means.
“There’s a lot fo activity, there’s a lot of forth, and a lot of ad hoc tactics being put into place without a good definition of what they’re trying to achieve,” he said.
Beyond the fact that well-aligned firms tend to have sales and marketing do targeting and planning together, Gray said the Index showed that leaders also tend to have departments which recognize they need to incorporate each other’s core skills. While marketing teams have been trying to integrate sales acumen in order to focus on lower-funnel activities, for instance, sales teams are also trying to better navigate buyer journeys as approaches like account-based marketing (ABM) become more common.
“Sales has realized the value of alignment,” Gray said.
The report says sharing technology is not always a priority for well-aligned B2B firms, but that a common martech-salestech stack can provide better visibility into data that leads to mutual success. The other aspect, of course, is culture and people. Gray said that over time, organizations will likely better better at hiring for the kind of attributes that lead to sales and marketing alignment.
“A lot of these things will become table stakes,” he said. “Overall the market is adopting these aspects (of alignment) as tried and true best practices.”
The LeadMD report also delves into the impact of marketing and sales team size on alignment, and shows that construction is among the surprising leaders in alignment compared with other vertical markets.
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